ROME (CBSMiami) – After a few days of getting to know one another and discussing the problems facing the church, the 115 cardinals gathered in Vatican City are almost ready to elect a new pope.

“A week ago we would have said, ‘wow we’ve got a lot of work to do.’ But now you see a sense of reservation and trust and faith,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.

On Tuesday the cardinals will be locked inside the Sistine Chapel to make their selection. It may take hours or days. Over the weekend, workmen installed the chimney which will release the black or white smoke that signifies whether a new pope has been elected.

Red curtains have been hung from the central balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica where the new pope will be announced.

The conclave seems to be shaping up like a battle between supporters of the Vatican bureaucracy known as the curia and outsiders bent on reform.

The Roman based cardinals are reportedly backing Odilo Scherer, Archbishop of Sao Paulo. Although Brazilian, Scherer is well known within the curia and is on the commission which overseas the Vatican bank.

On the other side of the ledger is Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola. Base in Milan, he’s considered someone who would clean out many of the Roman insiders.

If either of those names falter, there’s a real possibility than an American could rise to the top. Dolan and Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley are the leading U.S. contenders.

The conclave will get underway Tuesday with a mass. The cardinals will hold their first vote in the afternoon.


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